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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Varun Dhawan: Why 2018 Could be a Game-Changing Year for his Career

Varun Dhawan has chiselled body, vibrant persona and exceptional talent and these elements make him a sure-shot Bollywood heartthrob.

From the spoilt rich-kid in Student Of The Year to the dark, heart-broken vigilante in Badlapurthe 31-year-old actor has come leaps and bounds as an actor.

This year, in particular, we’ve seen Varun in two different styles of roles in films like October and Sui Dhaaga. 

We explore why these different roles could be game-changers for Varun Dhawan’s career.

Excellent Performances

Dan – October

Prior to Shoojit Sircar’s October, Varun was recognised and somewhat critiqued for routinely doing masala and commercial films like Main Tera Hero, Dishoom and Judwaa 2.

Furthermore, we also caught a glimpse of his performance as a romantic-hero in Humpty Sharma and Badrinath Ki Dulhania.

However, his character Dan in October can be summarised as an aimless man coping with loss. This showcased a different side to Varun’s acting calibre.

Danish Walia aka ‘Dan’ is an abstract character, which is quite challenging to play.

The character is a hotel management trainee and career-oriented person, quite an oddball.

Initially, he comes across as quite a rebellious, carefree guy – almost childlike and this is translated through small quirky actions like stepping on washed bed-sheets.

But throughout the film, he forms this attachment towards his colleague Shiuli, who before getting hospitalised, asked: “where’s Dan?”

We see his character develop from this carefree boy to a caring and concerned man. There is a smooth transition which Varun handles very maturely.

Whether it’s the subtle comedy or emotional quotients, Dhawan has a sensible approach to adapting the character. He gets the balance correct

Similarly, Bollywood Hungama notes: “Varun ensures that in the long run, Dan doesn’t turn out to be an irritating person.

The audience hoots for him as he struggles to heal Shiuli and this aspect would surely be loved by the viewers.”

Though the film did not perform well, it proved that Varun Dhawan is more than just a commercial/masala hero.

Mauji – Sui Dhaaga

Varun Dhawan is often cited to be the hero with the golden heart.

His role in Sharat Katariya’s Sui Dhaaga is also that of a man with a golden heart.

In a complete de-glam role based in rural India, Mauji is a completely different avatar for Dhawan.

Having grown a moustache and learnt how to stitch, this character is contrary to what we have seen before from Varun.

The film is about a young couple in rural India who start their own small-scale clothing business.

Despite facing countless trials and tribulations, Mauji is an optimist and says “Sab Badhiya Hai”. 

Varun is effortless as Mauji. In fact, the character is a fervorous as he is in real life.

From the comedic quotients to the serious parts, he balances all aspects of the role with such grace and ease.

Plus, it is wonderful to see that he does not go overboard with the rural accent nor does he try to ape or mimic another actor.

This realistic act has won the hearts of several critics. Umesh Punwani of Koimoi writes:

“Varun Dhawan stitches his performance with your hearts and it’ll be hard to undo it for a long time now…

He rocks as Mauji! With each of his film, he’s moulding himself into an actor who can do anything.”

Furthermore, made on quite a humble budget, the movie seems to be collecting a great amount of moolah at the box-office, proving it to be a profitable venture.

Worked with Two Celebrated Directors in Realistic Films

Shoojit Sircar – October

Besides excellent performances, a pivotal factor why 2018 could prove to be a game-changing year in Varun’s career is the fact that he has worked with two excellent directors/producers.

On one hand, Shoojit Sircar is an ace filmmaker in Indian cinema. Be it Vicky Donor or Piku, his films have a strong relatability factor about them.

Whether it’s the locations, character or plot, Sircar’s films are always realistic, yet entertaining.

Whilst October lacked the ‘entertainment’ factor, the movie encompasses the emotion of love, in a way which has never been seen before in Bollywood.

Even though Varun is the sole hero of the film, he uses his commercial appeal to attract viewers and yet explores himself as an actor.

Sharat Katariya – Sui Dhaaga

As for Sharat Katariya, whose first and previous film was the sleeper-hit Dum Laga Ke Haisha (DLKH) exhibited an ordinary couple faced with extraordinary circumstances.

Sui Dhaaga follows this concept and is a pragmatic, uplifting watch.

Like in October, Varun’s mainstream charm is translated through his performance in Sui Dhaaga.

Yet he stays consistent with the realism aspect of the role and does not allow his commercial recognition to jeopardise his part in the film.

Furthermore, Sui Dhaaga is backed by Yash Raj Films.

With the exception of Ayushmann Khurrana and Varun, it is not often we see young actors do a complete de-glamorous, ordinary and rural role in a YRF film.

But Varun totally surrenders himself to the script and narrative’s requirements.

YRF, despite being one of the biggest production houses in Bollywood, enable stories like Sui Dhaaga to be narrated in an authentic manner.

Final Word

Overall, it is clear that Varun Dhawan has endeavoured to diversify himself through his decisions to do authentic projects like October and Sui Dhaaga.

To a major extent, Varun has been successful in establishing himself as a versatile actor and the critical acclaims are a testament to this. 

Undoubtedly, 2018 will be acknowledged as Varun Dhawan’s game-changing year for his career.

However, the real clincher now will be how Varun continues to up his game amidst tough competition. 

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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